The Value Of RM1,200 Besides A Fancy Hair Cut

Malaysia's First Lady Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor recently claimed that she wasn't spared from the effects of GST when she was charged RM1,200 for each hair dyeing session at home. We think that's steep too. What else could you do with RM1,200?

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Recently at a GST briefing, Malaysia's First Lady Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor claimed that hairdressers and tailors who make house calls have been increasing prices. She had to part with RM1,200 for each hair dye session at home.

This, according to the president of the Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti), was because hairdressers, tailors and make-up artists who make house calls, had begun to increase their prices.

Highlighting this at a GST briefing in Petaling Jaya, Rosmah said she too was not spared from the predicament and had to fork out RM1,200 each time she had to dye her hair at home. "It is really hard to make tailored clothes these days. Their prices come up to RM500, and I am speaking as a representative of a housewife that buys made-to-order clothes.

"But what about housewives like us, with no income?" she said during a briefing on the GST with other wives of ministers and deputy ministers (Bakti) in Petaling Jaya. Rosmah complained that the charges for hairdressers, tailors and make-up artists who make house calls were "really high" and "did not make sense". She said that housewives like herself, who had no choice but to use their services, often became victims and were burdened with exorbitant prices.

RM1,200 is indeed an exorbitant price to pay to dye hair. What else can you do with RM1,200?

1. Rent a room for 2.5 months. A single, air-conditioned room in Damansara Jaya costs between RM400 to RM900 depending on facilities and utilities.

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A typical room in Damansara Jaya ranges from RM400 to RM900 based on size, facilities and utilities. RM1,200 can cover rent and utilities for at least 2 and a half months.

2. Help pay a month and a half's worth of salary to a worker. The minimum wage for East Malaysia is RM800. RM1,200 can cover their wages for one month and a half.

Minimum Wages Policy has raised the basic wages of all employees to a minimum of RM900 in Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan respectively. This means that as an employee in Malaysia, you have the right to expect minimum basic wages.

The Minimum Wages Policy also applies to employees who are paid on piece-rates, tonnage, trip- or commission-based. Employers are required to supplement the wages of these employees if their income does not meet RM900 per month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

3. Go for a road trip to Vietnam and back. RM1,200 can cover approximately 8,400 kilometres assuming you're driving a Perodua MyVi. That's like driving from Johor Bahru to Hanoi and back with still a lot of fuel to spare.

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The current price of RON 95 in Malaysia is RM1.70 per litre. A full tank for a Perodua MyVi would be roughly around RM50. With RM1,200, one can make 24 trips to the petrol station to fill up to the brim and that amount of fuel can cover a distance of 8,400 kilometres (assuming that one full tank can cover at least 350 kilometres with an efficiency rating of 15 to 17km per litre). That's like driving from Johor Bahru to Hanoi to and fro with a lot fuel to spare!

4. Buy lots of rice. With RM1,200 can buy a family of four 40 packets of local white rice at RM30 per pack. More than enough to sustain the family for an extended period of time.

Image via The Star
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If you aren't too bothered with the health implications of white rice but you're all big on taste, local or imported white rice is your go-to staple. Many people prefer it for the cheaper price tag and its extended storage life as compared to brown / red rice. The bags of rice usually come in two types of weights, either 5kg or 10kg, and have a price tag range of RM11 (the cheapest) to RM30 (the most expensive).

*Taking the most expensive price for a packet of local rice (RM30), RM1,200 can buy 40 packets of rice. More than enough to feed a family of four for a year.

5. Feed the poor. In a project called "The Poverty Line", RM7 could buy 2 fish, tempe and some rice. RM1,200 would be able to feed 171 hungry people.

Image via The Star

Stefen Chow, a Beijing-based Malaysian photographer, is calling on the public to join in “The Poverty Line” project by submitting photographs of food items bought with RM7 on a sheet of newspaper. “It is how much a person living on the poverty line can afford to spend on food each day,” said Chow, 35. For just RM7, one can get 2 fish, tempe and rice.

Besides the aforementioned foods, other Malaysians submitted photos of Nasi Kandar and even groceries bought with just RM7.

6. Get a cheaper haircut. A haircut at the barber costs between RM11 - RM15. Assuming you go to the barber every month for a RM15 haircut, you could go for a total of 80 times over the next 6.5 years with RM1,200.

Image via The Star

According to news reports, Malaysian Indian Hairdressers Association president K Kaviarasan said the barbers last increased their prices 10 years ago. “The RM11 charge for a haircut and shave has been raised to RM13 while those charging RM12 can increase it to RM14,” he said. Kaviarasan said the RM9 charge for haircut and shave in Penang, Kedah, Perak, Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang would be increased to RM11.

7. Pay off your PTPTN loan. With an average cost of RM200 per month, RM1,200 can cover six months of your PTPTN loan repayment.

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8. Sponsor a child. There are many great organisations out there that help children. RM1,200 can help support a child for a year and a half at RM65 per month.

Child Sponsorship is a commitment that makes a difference. For as little as RM65 (Asian countries) or RM80 (Non-Asian countries) per month, you can give whole communities access to life’s basic necessities - Clean Water, Health Care, Food and Agriculture, Education and Economic Development. World Vision focuses on children, working alongside communities to build lasting change. And with your help, we can enable families and communities to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Sign-up as a Child Sponsor today. You could sponsor a child from either Asian with only RM65/month, and/or Non-Asia with only RM80/month.

For some, having RM1,200 is a distant dream...

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